Every few days, our panel of ‘experts’ have shared opinions on the songs taking part in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. We’re nearing the end of our time together and today we embark on the second part of the Thursday semi-final. Arguably the weakest part of the contest this year, but see what you think …
We'll hear these songs on 11th May.
Ireland - Brendan Murray - Dying to try
Mo - It sounds like a song written for a much more mature performer, and (not that this is a bad thing) feels very 'Swedish'. Ireland appear to be stuck in this particular groove, and I just can't see Brendan being the one to break them out. The writers have thrown every Eurovision cliche into the pot (chord change, big final chorus) and the end result underwhelms.
Mo's score - 4 Points
Phil - Brendan sounds like Wee Jimmy Krankie on helium. His voice really doesn't suit this song, or arguably any song, and it just passes me by. He's trying to sing a man's song with the vocal power of a toddler, and that can only lead to disaster. It does, however, fulfil the cliche quota that Louis Walsh is after - and I'm sure he's got his excuses ready for when this song fails to qualify - but the answer is simple: it won't qualify because it's 2017 not 1996. I'm afraid this is the contest and feel the Irish are aiming for.
Phil's score - a Fandabidozie 1 Point
Valentina - Talk about falling from grace... Ireland have sent some decent songs to Eurovision in the last decade ('decent' in its loosest term... stop judging me!!) but this just isn't one of them. Tired, clichéd, weak vocals and a worn out message. Hmmm... this is a bit harsh... I should say something nice... Ireland is a beautiful country and I recommend you go visit it? Lord knows Eurovision won't be going there any time soon...
Valentina's score: L'Irlande - 2 Points (only to seem nicer than Phil)
Monty - I keep misreading the title as Trying To Die, something I hope Brendan’s not feeling like once the votes come in. He’s got an uphill battle to make it through, and though not without a chance I’d edge towards him not doing so. Let’s hope he enjoys the experience though – he looks like he could benefit from letting his hair down a bit, bless him.
Monty's score: 4 Points
San Marino - Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson - Spirit of the night
Mo - Who am I to deny Ralph Siegel the right to throw his money away on the contest he once dominated? Although the law of diminishing returns have never been more in evidence. And as for Valentina, well, she's probably a big fish in a very tiny pond. I'm not entirely sure how Jimmie Wilson got involved (although I guess money was to blame). The song (perhaps this is too grand a word for it) comes over as a really bad b-side from the late 1970s, like something the Three Degrees might have thought wasn't good enough to act as filler on an album. That's how awful this is. Repetitive doesn't even start to describe it. It's like 'La la la' brought ever so slightly up to date.
Mo's score: 0 Points
Phil - I prefer Vodka at 19 Hryvnia a double as my spirit of the night than this shite. If Ireland are aiming for a contest that was 1996, Ralphie has shot his bolt at a contest even older. He's desperate to recapture lost "glories", meanwhile Valentina just seems so desperate to be liked by anyone. Anyone with taste. The "fan boys" will like it, because ... well ... it's Valentina, and everyone loves a trier. Real people might actually just go "what is this shit?" The answer to that question is that it's dated and clapped-out, and if SMRTV really cared they will politely turn down Ralphie's money next year, and try to make up the numbers in a different way.
Phil's score: 0 Points
Valentina - She's baaaaaaaccckkk!! Oh how the internet fan-boyed when Queen Valentina announced she was stepping back into the fray! (I'm a big Valentina fan in case you haven't guessed by now!) The song... well, let's be honest, I don't think San Marino are planning to win this year's contest. I think it's more a case of national pride than hoping to win that brings them back to Eurovision each year. But the song is enough of a feel good track to keep the venue bopping and we're happy to see Valentina back (yes, I'm aware there's another singer too... good old what's-his-name...)
Valentina's score: Le Saint-Marin - 5 Points
Croatia - Jacques Houdek - My friend
Mo - This makes me really angry. Music shouldn't do that. The joke entry that didn't mean to be, and won't understand why the nasty people keep laughing at it.
Mo's score: 0 Points
Phil - This
Phil's score: 0 Points
Monty - Classic strings open the song, before the first of several jarring moments occurs with a spoken introduction. Following this Houdek settles into a pop voice in English setting up what seems to be a bit of a cheesy ballad. Before you’ve had a moment to savour the vintage of that cheese Houdek catches you off guard as he switches mid-verse into Italian operatic. Then back. Then back again, this time mid-line! And so, the song ensues, back and forth between language and style, as Houdek effectively duets with himself – or possibly his imaginary titular Friend. It’s quite the most unlikely three minutes on show this year.
Monty's score: 5 Points
Valentina - When I heard a furious violin solo in the snippet, I thought Croatia were really on to something... turns out they were... but that is was horrifying beyond all reason. My reaction upon first hearing this "song", I can't repeat in polite circles... I don't know whether to call this genius for being so mad-cap and unintentionally funny, or so dire it should come with a health warning... didn't someone once say that middling reviews were no fun? 😉
Valentina's score: La Croatie - 6 Points (3 for each Houdek...)
Norway - JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann - Grab the moment
Mo - You just never know what you're going to get with Norway. They lack the consistency of Sweden, but you tend to think they're trying. The staging annoys the very heck out of me, but the song itself has some appeal. I grew ever so tired of it, and the three minutes felt long. It needed some kind of boost in the last half minute that never really came. However, if they can sort out how it comes across on screen, it could make the final, otherwise, it's a mid-field danger zone song.
Mo's score - 5 Points
Phil - This Norwegian song is a strange beast. In one listen I went from "this has no redeeming features" to "it's telling me to kill" to having the hook in my head as I type this (which I guess is the mark of a decent song). The middle eight seems superfluous and breaks up the song. The verses are repetitive as is the chorus ... and yet, yet ... there is something that is bringing me back to it. The staging is indeed awful, so let's hope that N-R-COR have done something to rectify that, but there is an outside sniff of the final here.
It's the musical version of VD, the gift that keeps on giving.
Phil's score: I'd see the GUM clinic if I was you, 5 Points
Valentina - Kill... kill... kill... call me old fashioned, but I preferred it when Eurovision songs didn't give me alarming and unsettling instructions... some argued it was the best of a bad line-up in Melodi Grand Prix, sadly I don't agree. I think the staging has enough of a gimmick and the song enough of a hook/repetitive drone that wears you down, to get it into the final. But if it doesn't... eh... I won't lose any sleep... not a fan.
Valentina's score: La Norvège - 4 Points
Monty - It’s not that I mind this – at least it stopped us from a comedy hard rock act pretending to be builders. But I’m just not especially enthused by it. It’s a modern electropop song, and unlike last year’s Norwegian entry sounds like it is just the one song for the whole three minutes. It’s got a positive theme of overcoming those mental demons that can debilitate your plans, and a quirky look with the jewelled mask that gives you something to remember it by. But try as I might I just can’t get very excited about it. It feels like a retrograde step after sending a triptych of their best ever entries from Margaret Burger King, through Carl Espen, to the juicy dark vibes of Mørland and Debrah Scarlett. But I guess you can’t even keep Scandinavian cool going for ever.
Monty's score: 5 Points
Switzerland - Timebelle - Apollo
Mo - Why do the Swiss get it so consistently wrong? They put in place lots of rules about only allowing professional acts to enter their national selection. They clearly don't do things on the cheap. And yet year after year, they churn out inoffensive forgettable slabs of pap. It's not going to hurt them to have a lead singer from Romania, but this is yet another one of those Swiss Eurovision songs you forgot the very minute it ends. Oh, and I thought it was called 'I'll follow you' until I glanced up and saw the actual title. Small point, best made.
Mo's score - 4 Points
Phil - To be fair, I can't add anything to the above and because Part 7 has quite frankly been the longest set of songs in the world to write shit about, I'm being lazy.
Phil's Score - 4 Points
Valentina - So, this was one of my favourites when it was first chosen (you know, back when there were only 6 songs to choose from). Then they revamped it, and it went from decent ballad to weird demi-pop... revamp this year seems to be code for "mess it up for no reason". Now it's still among the songs I'll probably listen to after the contest, but it has dropped considerably. Will it bring Switzerland a coveted 3rd win? Doubtful. Will it get Switzerland into the final for the first time since 2014? I think it can.
Valentina's score - La Suisse - 7 Points (would have been 8 or 10 before the vamp)
(My, but that was a run of bad songs).